New Nixon Tapes Show More Anti-Semitism
08/23/13
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President Richard Nixon is heard in the last set of his White House tapes making anti-Semitic statements in discussions with visitors to the Oval Office and by telephone.

The 340 hours of tapes, which cover from April 9, 1973 to July 12, 1973, were released Wednesday by the Nixon Presidential Library. They are the last set of tapes that will be released by the library.

In a phone discussion in mid-April with Henry Kissinger, a Jew who at the time was the national security adviser, Nixon expresses concerns that Jews would torpedo an upcoming U.S.-Soviet summit. If that happened, Nixon said, “Let me say, Henry, it’s gonna be the worst thing that happened to Jews in American history.” He added, “If they torpedo this summit — and it might go down for other reasons — I’m gonna put the blame on them, and I’m going to do it publicly at 9 o’clock at night before 80 million people.”

He continued: “They put the Jewish interest above America’s interest, and it’s about goddamn time that the Jew in America realizes he’s an American first and a Jew second.”

In a tape from May 1 that is labeled by the library as “Garment’s Jewish background,” referring to Nixon aide and lawyer Leonard Garment, Nixon is heard shouting “Goddamn his Jewish soul” after saying he wants to fire Garment for an inappropriate comment.

 

 

When asked about appointees, Nixon tells presidential counselor Anne Armstrong there should be “No Jews. We are adamant when I say no Jews. … But Mexicans are important. Italians, Eastern Europeans. That sort of thing.”

Nixon accused the Jews of holding American foreign policy “hostage to Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union,” and added that “the American people are not going to let them destroy our foreign policy — never!”

Future presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush are heard in conversations recorded on the tapes offering Nixon support during the Watergate affair.

Nixon on previous tapes was heard making anti-Semitic remarks about Jewish politicians and others.

editor@jewishweek.org

Last Update:

08/25/2013 - 13:33

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Nixon's paranoia and quixotic nature too often led him into political alleyways that did not serve this country or its citizens. Destruction in Cambodia was merely one such dark passage during the Viet Nam war. His sense of his place in world events led him to seek rapprochement with Moscow, was nevertheless a positive strategy during the Cold War. The Jewish community never sought to break ties with the Soviet Union, despite some extremist calls for such a policy. We wanted Moscow to change its policies, and contacts provided an opportunity for quiet as well as public interventions. It did seek to have the president in his encounters with Soviet officials, and especially at the 1973 summit meeting, to use those opportunities to press for the rights of Jews. When a petition with over a million signatures were sent to the White House asking for just such action by the president it was an expression of soft power, not the harsh rhetoric of opposition to détente. Our strategy was to use contacts with Soviet officials at every level to press the plight of Soviet Jews, a demand we had every right to make. If that was our strategy the tactics of demonstrations and remonstrations were designed to express popular support for such action. To "torpedo (the) summit, as Nixon declared was an objective of the Jewish community, would have hurt the advocacy effort.

Jerry Goodman, Founding Executive Director, National Conference on Soviet Jewry.

These days, Republican candidates come cap in hand to Sheldon Adelson for campaign contributions while Richard Nixon is just a bad memory, having been forced out of office in disgrace.

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